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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

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    Default Attempting to build an Amazon-like race with a +1 Level Adjustment- suggestions?

    Here's what I have so far:
    (Insert name) Racial Traits
    +2 Strength, +2 Wisdom
    Size: Medium
    Speed: 30 ft
    Weapon Proficiency: (Insert name) receive the Martial Weapon Proficiency feat for the longbow, longsword, and battleaxe.
    Shield Proficiency: (Insert name) receive the Shield Proficiency feat.
    +2 Racial bonus on Intimidate checks
    Special Qualities: A (Insert name) can cast Heroism once per day as a spell-like ability. Their caster level for this ability is equal to their character level.
    Level Adjustment +1
    Automatic Languages: Common and (Insert language)
    Bonus Languages: Celestial, Elven, Draconic, Dwarven, Giant, and Orc.
    Last edited by MonkeySage; 2021-01-22 at 01:24 PM.

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    Deepbluediver's Avatar

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    Default Re: Attempting to build an Amazon-like race with a +1 Level Adjustment- suggestions?

    Do you have any thoughts about the origin of this race? I often find that trying to figure out where a group comes from, or where they fit into the setting, can be helpful with inspiration.
    For example, are these a savage, wilderness-based race? I recall one of the 3.5 source-books had something like a Neanderthal-human variant. Are they more civilized, perhaps serving as the defacto mercenary bands for some other group? How a race has interacted with others over it's history can help determine how it ended up where it is.
    The bonuses and innate spellcasting makes me think that, if they are human-based, they are like some variant aasimar. Perhaps founded by an outsider who was specifically against crimes like rape, slavery, etc, and wanted women to have their own brand of champion.

    But for a truly out-there scenario, what about this? There have been a couple of attempts on this forum (and I'm sure elsewhere) to make homebrewed half-orc/half-elf races; what if this was one of them, but the elf-half was DROW?
    You're mixing the warrior-traditions of one race with the pro-female leanings of the other, and it also explains where the +1 racial bonus comes from. And then their cultural (not racial) alignment could be anywhere on the spectrum, depending on what kind of backstory you come up with.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
    It's not called common because the sense is common, it's called common because it's about common things.
    Homebrew Extended Signature!

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Attempting to build an Amazon-like race with a +1 Level Adjustment- suggestions?

    So they're basically an off-shoot of humanity. Within my setting, I have a lawful neutral goddess of retribution, and she was actually born mortal. Long story short, the tribe she belonged to was all but wiped out- with only a handful of women left. After she ascended to divinity, she wanted to protect what was left of her tribe, so she basically created an island for them to live in peace. She bid them to train so that what happened before could never happen again, fostering a warrior culture.

    Although she's worshipped on the mainland as a goddess of justice and retribution, she's also the patron goddess of this tribe, and it's thanks to her divine gifts that they enjoy an extended lifespan and the ability to cast Heroism. Increased strength and wisdom follow from that, and their warrior culture is all about defense.

    The tribe is exclusively female, though members of the tribe are permitted to leave the island for a number of reasons including procreation. The child is always a female member of this race.

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    Maat Mons's Avatar

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    Default Re: Attempting to build an Amazon-like race with a +1 Level Adjustment- suggestions?

    I'm not very fond of the idea of level adjustment. How strong do you want this race to be? The designers were all over the place on balancing LA +1 options. Do you want to aim for parity with the good LA +1 races? Like Lolth-Touched, which gives +6 Str and +6 Con? Or Mineral Warrior, which gives DR 8/adamantine? Or do you want to aim for parity with the awful LA +0 races? The ones that were only given +1 LA because their ability adjustments were positive? But their actual bonuses were in line with LA +0 races? So you were giving up a level to avoid taking a penalty to a dump stat? Which is nowhere near worth losing a level for?

    I think you can safely give proficiency with all martial weapons. Humans get a free bonus feat, and can spend that feat on Militia, which gives proficiency with all martial weapon. So, in a roundabout way, humans get proficiency with all martial weapons as a racial bonus. And they're LA +0. Additionally, one of the incarnations of Lesser Planetouched retained the Outsider type. And that type gives proficiency with all martial weapons. So there's another couple LA +0 races with a similar ability.

    Really, being proficient with all martial weapon isn't notably better that being proficient with the one or two martial weapons you actually use. It's more of a fluff ability. If your character caries a greatsword for melee and a longbow for ranged, and only uses those two weapons, because he paid a pretty penny getting them enchanted, and why would he use some random other weapon that doesn't have the exact magical properties he likes? Well, that's not functionally different from a different character who does the same thing, but actually isn't proficient with other weapons. It's just a little annoying as a player that your character can't do something you feel he should be able to do, even if it never comes up. Sort of why some people put ranks in skills they know they'll never use, like Craft or Profession.

    It may be worth noting that opportunity cost of LA varies weirdly as you level up. For example, at ECL 2, LA +1 means your half the level of everyone else. You're still deep in "can go from full HP to -10 in a single hit" territory while many of your teammates have gained a measure of survivability. And it's even worse for higher LAs at their earliest possible levels. At high ECL, the LA is proportionally a much smaller portion of your numerical progression, but then you've got class features to consider. If you're playing a good, well designed class, the high-level class features are better than the low-level class features. So, while being one level behind at low levels means you're missing out on something nice, being one level behind at high levels means you're missing out on something amazing. If you're playing at high levels and your class is only giving you things on par with what low-level characters get for class features... the game designers owe you an apology.

    Another thing I'm not fond of is small, static, numerical bonuses. Let's take for example the +2 to Intimidate. Factoring in the fact that the +1 LA means you're 1 rank behind normal characters, this means you have a net +1 to Intimidate relative to other characters of you ECL. At high level, +1 to a skill is not a lot to get excited about, considering all the bonuses you can be getting from elsewhere. Like your numerous skill ranks, skill-boosting magic items, and your ability scores, which have potentially grown quite large with magic items and, for your main ability, increases from level up. Actually, +1 to a skill is kind of hard to get excited about at any level.

    I'm not really getting a defensive vibe off of their abilities. Well, except for shield proficiency. Maybe you could expand that to be proficiency with all armor and shields? Except tower shields? Some other defensive options would be a natural armor bonus, bonus HP, damage reduction, or save bonuses. Those could be designed to scale with level. Some sort of reroll-based ability would also be possible.

    Are they primarily trained to battle in mass formations on open fields? Or are they primarily trained to act in small, mobile groups and be adaptable? Do they only utilize their martial prowess for defending their island? Or do they send out military units when armies of raiders attack defenseless settlements? Or do they send out individual champions to roam the world protecting the weak?

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Attempting to build an Amazon-like race with a +1 Level Adjustment- suggestions?

    I'm trying to balance this with other +1 LA races- Aasimar, Tiefling, etc... Heroism, as I've been told a couple times, is a relatively powerful spell for a level 1 character.


    I don't literally mean that they fight defensively- indeed in combat they can be quite aggressive. If they can fight in formation, they'll do so- relying on shield walls and archers.

    I mean that culturally they are not about conquest- mainly, they aim to defend their homeland. They don't ignore cruelty, but they don't go out of their way to protect others- only doing so if they have no good reason not to.

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    Default Re: Attempting to build an Amazon-like race with a +1 Level Adjustment- suggestions?

    The point I was making is that saying you're "balancing against LA +1 races" is too vague to be helpful, because LA +1 races aren't balanced relative to each other. It's like saying you're trying to balance a class "against the PHB classes." The PHB classes are notoriously imbalanced, so you'd need to be more specific.

    Anyway, you said Aasimar and Tiefling, so lets compare to those for the time being.

    Aasimar gain +2 to Wisdom and Charisma. Those stats are primarily useful to casters, and casters are the very last people who should be playing level-adjusted races, so not very good. ... Well, I guess Wisdom's at least good for a +1 to Will saves, and the LA only puts them 1/3 behind on that for martial classes (the only classes that might consider LA, so they're kind of getting +2/3 to that save on average. Tieflings get +2 to Dexterity and Intelligence, but take -2 to Charisma. For finesse characters, the +2 Dex cancels out the fact that they're 1 level behind on base attack bonus, so that's... less bad than not getting it. It also boosts AC, except that it kind of doesn't, because people with low dexterity just wear heavier armor, and they wind up with the same AC as people who invested in dexterity. The Intelligence bonus is, again primarily useful to casters, who really should not be delaying access to their higher-level spells. Charisma is usually a dumpstat, so the penalty doesn't really matter. This untitled race gets +2 to Strength, which puts them at the same total attack bonus as others of their same ECL... except in ranged combat. And they get a +1 to damage, which is a benefit. Then they get that same +2/3 on average to Will saves that Aasimar do. So your race is really ahead here by providing +1 damage, +2/3 Will saves, and only -1 ranged attack, -1/2 Fort saves, and -1/3 Ref saves.

    Aasima and Tieflings both gain proficiency with all simple and martial weapons, by virtue of having the Outsider type. In practical terms, that's equal in value to proficiency with longbows and greatswords, which are the best weapons they can use. ... Well, shield builds would use longswords instead of greatswords, so I guess we can count it as three weapons. The race of amazons gets proficiency with longbows, longswords, and battleaxes. Longswords and battleaxes are, for all practical purposes the same weapon with different fluff, so two weapon proficiencies. And greatsword isn't one of them, which really hurts any non-shield-using build. The average damage of a longsword is 4.5, much less than the 7 average damage of a greatsword. that 2.5 damage loss eats up the +1 damage from Strength and then some. The homebrew race is definitely behind in this category. But at least it doesn't matter to characters who already get good weapon proficiencies. ... Except the reason it doesn't matter is because none of these races do anything for them in this regard, so they're all equally bad options.

    Aasima get +2 to Spot and Listen. Or actually +3, if you consider the +1 from the Wisdom boost. ... but actually +2, because they're behind by 1 on max skill ranks. And being behind on max ranks is basically -1 to all other skills. So +2 to two skills in exchange for -1 to all others. But at least characters only care about the -1 for those few skills they actually use. Tieflings get +2 to Bluff and Hide. Except Hide gets another +1 from their Dex adjustment, and Bluff gets a -1 from their Cha adjustment. And then the loss of a class level takes that down to +2 Hide, breaking even on Bluff, and -1 to all other skills. The amazonians get +2 to Intimidate... but really +1 to Intimidate because fewer levels. And then the same -1 to all other skills, also because fewer levels. So the homebrew is behind in this category too. I man, all three races give a bad trade on skills. But especially so for this one.

    Aasimar get Daylight 1/day... which is not very useful. But if you're suffering a miss chance from a spell of 2nd level or lower with the darkness descriptor, this can situationally be handy. For all nonmagical darkness though, you really should already be set due to yor Darkvision and the fact that Everburning Torches are cheep. Tieflings get Darkness 1/day, which is more useful despite being a lower-level effect. You can use it to grant yourself concealment, screwing over Rogues and allowing you to hide while observed. I mean, you also suffer from that same concealment, despite you Darkvision. But if it's worse for your enemies than it is for you, score. The race that shall not be named gets Herois 1/day, which is notably better than what the other two get. Not getting Darkvision is kind of a bummer though. But, humans, the best and most-used race, also don't get Darkvision, and Everburning Torches are cheep. I mean, it's not like you can go without a light source if there's even one party member without Darkvision anyway.

    Aasimar get resistance 5 to Acid, Cold, and Electricity. Cold resistance could be really nice in a survival-themed arctic game, since it gives all the benefits of Endure Elements, at least against cold temperatures. It also makes you nigh-immune to the damage from some levels of cold that even that spell doesn't fully protect you from. Taking a little less damage sometimes can even sort of make up for the fact that you have fewer HP than non-level-adjusted races. Tiefling get resistance 5 to Cold, Electricity, and Fire. This is a better set than Aasimar, since Fire and Cold are the most common energy types, and Tieflings get resistance to two of them instead of just one. And Fire resistance is handy for a desert survival game in all the same ways that Cold resistance is for arctic survival. The race that changed its name to an unpronounceable symbol to get back at its record label doesn't gain any energy resistances. So it's a clear looser in this category.

    All in all, I'd say the race is slightly behind aasimar and tiefling. Unlike those two, it's ability adjustments could sort give it a slight edge in melee, even after you account for the fact that its level adjustment made it worse in all regards, including melee. And it's 1/day SLA is generally useful, tiefling's SLA, which is situational, and aasimar's SLA, which player's are likely to forget they have on account of never using it. But this is countered by the fact that their weapon proficiencies are even less likely to be helpful than the ones given by the planetouched races, and the lack of any energy resistance, or anything else that might sometimes reduce damage to compensate for the low HP that all level-adjusted races share.

    And it should go without saying this makes it a poor choice for player characters, since Aasimar and Tieflings are already famously bad options, and are the most commonly-cited examples of why no one should ever play a race with LA.

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    Default Re: Attempting to build an Amazon-like race with a +1 Level Adjustment- suggestions?

    Maat Mons' reply is very thorough; I can't compete with that.

    The only thing I can think to add is that for a lot of races, those static racial bonuses become less important as they level up because they become eclipsed by other bonuses. You should think of how the race will look not just at 1st level but at 2nd through 19th as well. One thing you could do is give them extra uses of their spell-like ability as they level up. An additional use of Heroism at 4th and 8th level, for example, and then let them use Greater Heroism once per day at 12th, gaining an extra use of that at 15th & 19th.
    Last edited by Deepbluediver; 2021-01-24 at 08:20 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
    It's not called common because the sense is common, it's called common because it's about common things.
    Homebrew Extended Signature!

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